Imadas Game Shaping up Nicely for Virginia Beach


Fresh off a second-place finish at last weeks Buy.Com Carolina Classic at the TPC at Wakefield Plantation, Ryuji Imada seems to be peaking just in time for this weeks Virginia Beach Open.
Imada won here last season, when the 24-year-old shot a final round 68 to finish five shots clear of Todd Demsey at 13-under-par 275. It was his first win on the Buy.Com circuit and he collected $72,000 for his performance.
This year, while some things have remained the same at the event, others have changed. The host course is still the Tournament Players Club of Virginia Beach, and Imada has yet to graduate to the PGA Tour.
Yet, while he will be competing this week, a few others who were in the mix last year will not. Kelly Grunewald, Briny Baird and Kent Jones ' all of whom were in the top-10 last season in Virginia Beach ' are now playing the PGA Tour. Likewise, the purse has changed from 2000. It is up slightly this year to $76,500.
While Imada is back, however, he is rumored to be one of the finest players on the circuit, and it is a feeling of everyone that it is only a matter of time before he moves on to the next level.
Demsey ' another whose swing has been marveled over ' will also compete this week. He will join last weeks winner John Maginnes, Jim McGovern and Hank Kuehne in the field.
Keuhne, who has been playing golf in Europe ' and doing quite well ' is coming off shoulder and elbow surgery from a year ago.